Opinion Editorial

Why the Mountie at bridge opening?

Greg Vandermeulen

The opening of the Letellier bridge was a great day. It was with no doubt, a great achievement of two governments.

But it was disappointing to see the one man who probably had more time invested in lobbying for the bridge than anyone else, not being given a chance to speak nor being invited.

Former MLA Jack Penner made that bridge a big priority. He advocated for the people who needed that bridge, even had the PC government in the 90's ready to include it in their capital plan.

That changed when the NDP took power. They focused on the badly neglected northern roads, and the bridge suffered the consequence.

Penner passed his torch to MLA Cliff Graydon who also continued the hard work. But it was Jack who made it the issue that eventually led to the bridge replacement.

But that wasn't the only thing odd about the grand opening. As the festivities began, an impressive RCMP officer in red serge was observed.

Const. Samuel Boucher, who hails from Moncton, New Brunswick but now works out of Morris was included in the event.

The question is why?

I don't think there are hard and fast rules about which public events Mounties should be in.

We take it for granted they'll take part in Remembrance Day services, and curling bonspiel opening ceremonies (although why curling is an interesting question as well).

Generally speaking the more pomp and circumstance required in a ceremony, the more likelihood you'll see a Mountie in red serge.

They are after all, a symbol of our great country, of our police system with has so much to be proud of.

It's a great symbol, and one we enjoy. People can't help but cast a smile at a traditionally garbed Mountie, and give him or her a hello.

But government officials need to be careful. What can be considered a great symbol can quickly become something far less.

As the Mountie stood next to the platform during the bridge opening, he began to look like a prop.

It definitely wasn't his fault. He did his job well, and looked very official doing it.

But he wasn't really a part of the celebration.

He posed for photos with the dignitaries, and even received a few kind words from Vic Toews, but it just didn't seem right.

If we want our amazing symbol of the Mountie to retain the significance it has now, we can't overuse it. Let's save it for important events... like curling bonspiels.